Uvalde, an unlikely opportunity for responsiveness to public sentiment

Public support for gun control, including regulating access to assault-style weapons, is currently extraordinarily high. But will Congress act? It would take ten Republican Senators to break. The odds are not good. And if they did, federal legislation would likely be very weak and its constitutionality uncertain after this term. Still, amidst the gloom, it is worth noting when we see a representative from a district, whose constituents have experienced the horrors of a mass shooting directly, break with the NRA.

Washington Post: “NRA-endorsed Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) broke with the GOP last week and said he now would support an assault weapons ban, magazine capacity limits, raising the age to be able to purchase guns from 18 to 21, and other gun restrictions. The recent shootings in Buffalo and in Uvalde forced him to reevaluate his position on guns, Jacobs told the Buffalo News.

Engaging with one’s constituencies does appear to matter. An under-appreciated cost of campaign fundraising madness is how it pulls elected officials away from spending time in their own districts and listening to their own constituents.

The Post reports further that Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill) made a similar about-face after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, calling for a ban on bumpstocks. Las Vegas is obviously not his district. Post Uvalde, Kinzinger has stated he is even open to an assault weapons ban.

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